Quality of European pianos

The development of the piano and grand piano has for the most part been a European affair and the world's best pianos and grand pianos are still being built in Europe (especially in Germany and the Czech Republic).

European pianos and grand pianos are more durable and have vocal bases that produce an overtone and more colourful sound image than the Asian ones. Also, European piano and grand piano mechanics are still unsurpassed in quality because they are more stable and offer greater dynamic controllability than the Asian ones.
A colourful sound together with the greatest possible variation in hard and soft (Pianoforte) determine the extent to which the intentions and emotions of the music can be conveyed.
The enormous number of Asian instruments is largely the result of mass production, while a great deal of time is invested in European instruments, even today.

Piano en Vleugel Productie

The differences between European and Asian pianos and grand pianos can be observed and controlled both on constructional aspects as well as on material quality and/or choice of materials.

For example, German hammerheads are used in European instruments.

Hammerheads are at the basis of every sound because they pick up the sound and control its intensity through the comb to the bottom of the voice. C. Bechstein, for example, even produces her own hammerheads for all her piano and grand piano models! These are made of 100% natural wool (Wurzen felt, named after the town of Wurzen near Leipzig) and are stretched around the mahogany core using a low-pressure process. The vast majority of pianos and grand pianos produced in Asia, on the other hand, make hammerheads with artificial wool, which are stretched around the mahogany core under high pressure and in order to retain moisture in the hammerhead felt in a warm climate, they are impregnated with lacquer. The tone of a piano or grand piano with impregnated hammers is more uniform/similar and therefore has less soul/character and less intonation possibilities.

The high quality Renner mechanics used in European instruments (C. Bechstein, Steingraeber & Söhne, Fazioli, Steinway, Bösendorfer) use the most modern CNC (computer numerical control) machines, guaranteeing perfect mechanical production.

Did you know that you can already buy a C. Bechstein piano from € 11.990,- while other European top brands in this price range do not produce? 

Piano Onderhoud

A very important part of the pianos and grand pianos is the soundboard that actually acts as a natural (wood: at the back of the piano or inside of the grand piano) speaker.

Also in this area there are clear differences between European and Asian productions.
European soundboards use spruces from the Alps, Bohemia or the Ciresa wood (Val di Fiemme, Italy) which was also used for the soundboards of Stradivarius violins. The European wood is selected at the tree line (at an altitude of 1800 to 2200 meters) after which the sawn wood is seasoned. After about 6 months a long and careful drying process follows. Drying takes place under low heat to ensure that the wood is not damaged.
The Asian soundboards are largely made from the Sitka spruce (west coast North America, planting in England & Ireland, Alaska and Siberia) and are selected for similarity after which a considerably shorter drying process follows.

Asian productions vary in numbers between approximately 10,000 and 100,000 pianos and grand pianos per year (mass production) and the professionals have a 45 or 50 hour working week.

European productions involve annual numbers between about 500 and 5000 instruments and work with a 38 or 40 hour working week.

Finally, we note that the sound ideal has always been different in Europe and Asia.

With European pianos and grand pianos, you are always assured of European professional intonators who perform the time-honoured craft in the tradition that originated and developed in Europe.

Piano achterkant